This $10.5 million creates 630 jobs removing plastic and derelict boats from 870 miles of beaches to grow local restoration economy

On November 23, 2023, new funding from the province of British Columbia‘s Clean Coast, Clean Waters initiative was announced to help revitalize coastal communities and First Nations beach cleanup projects.

Capt. Josh Temple, executive director of the Coastal Restoration Society, said “Coastal Restoration Society, alongside our Indigenous and NGO partners, is proud to support the B.C. government in attaining their CleanBC Plastic Action Plan goals. Clean Coast, Clean Waters has created meaningful jobs that prioritize Indigenous communities’ contributions to the restoration economy. These efforts establish the province as a global leader in the fight against marine pollution.

The Clean Coast, Clean Waters (CCCW) initiative partners with organizations to remediate the province’s coastline, restoring both health and beauty.

This year, Surfrider Canada is proud to incorporate its public shoreline cleanups into CCCW,” said Lucas Harris, executive director of Surfrider Foundation Canada, which is contracted under Ocean Legacy Foundation.

Engaging volunteers allows people to participate in meaningful restoration activity in their own community.

This year, eight projects were selected that are expected to clean more than 1400 kilometers (870 miles) of shoreline and remove at least 70 derelict vessels, creating 630 new jobs in the process.

Derelict vessels, plastics and ocean debris do not belong on our beaches or coastline. With the help of Clean Coast, Clean Waters projects, we have made significant progress towards the protection and restoration of our marine ecosystems by keeping these items off our beaches and food chain,” said George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy.

These projects also highlight the importance of First Nations’ stewardship in safeguarding the natural beauty we enjoy,” he added.

The eight projects for this round of funding were selected through a merit-based process from organizations that bring their experience and dedication to the marine environment. Recipients for this round are Ocean Legacy Foundation, Coastal Restoration Society, Rugged Coast Research Society, Campbell River Association of Tour Operators, and K’yuu Enterprise Corporation.

Danny Robertson, managing partner, K’yuu Enterprise Corporation, said “There is a Haida law called Yahguudang — respect for all things — which steers how we interact with the land and the waters. Partnering with the Province on the Clean Coast, Clean Waters initiative contributes necessary resources to support the important work of cleaning plastic pollution from Haida Gwaii’s shoreline.

Recipients must complete projects from the current round of funding by February 29, 2024.

Leigh Nelson, vice-president, Campbell River Association of Tour Operators, said “The Clean Coast, Clean Waters initiative is an innovative plan to support the tourism sector, while preserving the natural beauty that brings people to B.C. The Campbell River Association of Tour Operators is pleased to partner again with the industry, First Nations, non-profit organizations and the Province on this project.”

Recipients were awarded more than $10.5 million for projects that will focus on B.C.’s coastal communities.

The funding is part of a $25-million provincial investment into shoreline cleanup and derelict vessel removal projects announced in May 2023, bringing the total funding under the initiative to $49.8 million.

The Clean Coast, Clean Waters initiative is an important part of the CleanBC Plastics Action Plan to reduce plastic waste and pollution in the environment. The initiative has ties to the Coastal Marine Strategy, which is being co-developed by coastal First Nations and Ministry of Water, Land and Resource Stewardship.

Chloé Dubois, executive director, Ocean Legacy Foundation, said “Ocean Legacy is deeply grateful for the continued opportunity from the Province to drive this critical work forward with First Nation communities, environmental non-profits and participating businesses. Together, we will continue bridging the circular and blue economies to advance restorative efforts in making the coastline a cleaner, more resilient place for all.”

Public input collected in the 2023 “what we heard” report from Coastal Marine Strategy shows strong support for marine-debris cleanup initiatives. Top concerns from the public include marine pollution from abandoned vessels, plastics and polystyrene.

A second application window will open in early 2024 to distribute remaining funds. All interested parties are encouraged to apply. The application window will be open for a longer period to allow recipients to plan ahead.

Renny Talbot, director/biologist, Rugged Coast Research Society, said “The Clean Coast, Clean Waters initiative allows our team to do more of what we love, which is to carry out remote restoration projects. We look forward to continued collaboration with partner non-profits and Indigenous governments supporting the Province in their work to create jobs and support coastal communities.”

By the end of 2022, the Clean Coast, Clean Waters initiative had:

  • removed more than 1500 tons of debris, including 118 derelict vessels;
  • achieved a 64% recycling/upcycling rate for shoreline cleanup projects;
  • cleaned more than 4600 kilometers of shoreline; and
  • created more than 1700 well-paying jobs.

Photo courtesy of the Government of British Columbia.

Learn more about the Clean Coast, Clean Waters Initiative Fund.

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